The Georgetown men’s basketball team may have played its last game over a month ago, but this season officially came to the end last Thursday with the annual team banquet. The players and coaches gathered with a few hundred supporters to reflect on the past season in a ceremony that was more joyous, but just as emotional, as the Hoyas’ trip to Columbus, Ohio.
The highlight of the night was the celebration of Georgetown’s three outgoing players: seniors Henry Sims and Jason Clark, and junior Hollis Thompson, who is entering the NBA draft. All three gave heartfelt speeches to the crowd, with Sims and Clark getting particularly emotional.
“I feel like the loss against N.C. State right now,” Sims said, choking back tears.
Each member of the team was first introduced individually by special assistant Kevin Broadus, who turned the event into a roast, poking fun at the players, managers, and his fellow coaches with a series of esoteric pop culture references. (for example, Broadus used obscure Flintstones characters like the Great Gazoo to describe freshman Greg Whittington’s propensity for talking to himself in practice.)
Thompson got his turn at the podium during the litany of introductions. The junior forward said that he was not going to fire back at Broadus, who called him the future number one pick in the WNBA draft, and instead offered his thanks to his team and its supporters.
The two seniors were singled out for their own moments of recognition at the end of the ceremony. Senior captain and three-year starter Jason Clark took the stage first, reminiscing fondly about his time at Georgetown before getting serious with talk about how leading the Hoyas affected him. Clark eventually focused his message to his younger teammates in front of the stage, beseeching them not to let their time at Georgetown go to waste.
“There is no ceiling,” said Clark. “You guys can be as good as you want to be if you keep pushing each other how we did this year.”
Sims was the final player to speak. That the big man described his time at Georgetown as a “roller coaster” was no surprise to anyone who followed the team. A breakout year this season allowed head coach John Thompson III to joke about the number of “come-to-Jesus” talks he had with Sims’s mother, but for the first three years there wasn’t anything funny about Sims’s failure to develop as a player.
“I lost the love for the game of basketball because when I got here, I wasn’t playing,” said Sims. “When I got here I didn’t understand what hard work was.”
Sims of course eventually learned how to work, and he credited first-year assistant Othella Harrington with fostering the additional development that made him an NBA prospect in his senior season.
The departure of Sims leaves a big hole for the Hoyas to fill, as do those of Clark and Thompson. The loss of its top three scorers will be the dominant narrative for Georgetown heading into next season, but John Thompson III is not worried. On Thursday, the coach told the crowd that he will be playing up the “woe is me” act to the media, but he won’t believe what he’s saying.
“We’re going to be good,” Thompson III confidently stated. “I wish we could start practice tomorrow.”